Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 248 ..
The objective of the scheme is to detect and prevent systemic dysfunction in the specified environments. Official Visitors achieve this by visiting visitable places, talking to entitled persons, inspecting records, reporting on the standard of facilities and reporting to the operational Minister and other public authorities. Official Visitors also fulfil a more direct and informal function within their respective environments by resolving grievances and lesser issues.
The roles and functions of Official Visitors are set out in the Official Visitor Act 2012 and the relevant operational Acts for the Official Visitor’s purpose, namely the Disability Services Act 1991 for Official Visitors for Disability Services. Activities are also guided by the Official Visitor Guidelines 2020.
(3) As a ministerial appointment, nominees must be agreed by Cabinet and considered by the relevant Legislative Assembly standing committee. Appointments are governed by the Legislation Act 2001 and guided by the Governance Principles – Appointments, Boards and Committees handbook. Expressions of Interest processes are undertaken to select nominees for appointment. Criteria for those processes include demonstrated proficiency with:
i. human rights;
ii. quality service delivery;
iii. communication with people with a disability; and
iv. navigation of local service, support, oversight and other systems.
(4) Minimum numbers of Official Visitors for each operational Act are listed at section 10 of the Official Visitor Act 2012. In the case of the Disability Services Act 1991 the minimum number is one. There were two part time Official Visitors from 2014 until 2020.
(5) Official Visitors are appointed by disallowable instrument. They are part time. All currently appointed Official Visitors and those appointed in the past can be found on the ACT Legislation Register. Current Official Visitors for Disability Services are Ms Mary Durkin, Mr Chris Redmond and Mr Rob Woolley.
(6) A third Official Visitor for Disability Services was appointed in 2020 in response to increasing numbers of entitled persons in the ACT. There are no current plans to appoint additional Official Visitors for Disability Services.
(7) Official Visitors are appointed and remunerated as Part-Time Statutory Office Holders at a rate determined by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal.
(8) Complaints received by Official Visitors have not been uniformly recorded or collected in aggregate. In their last publicly available Annual Report (2018-19) the Official Visitors for Disability Services reported handling 46 complaints. I note that only some of the activities of the Official Visitors for Disability Services derive from complaints.
Community Services Directorate—Office for Disability(Question No 66)
Mrs Kikkert asked the Minister for Disability, upon notice, on 4 December 2020: